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The Central Bank of Costa Rica (BCCR) has announced that, as of August 1, all client accounts in Costa Rica will change to the international bank account format (IBAN).
The implementation of this new model changes the length of the account number, since it will go from 17 alphanumeric characters to 22. As explained from the BCCR, the length of an IBAN varies by country; for example, in Belgium IBANs have 16 characters.
With this change, Costa Ricans will have a universal account number, where they can receive money from the same bank, from other banks in Costa Rica, and internationally.
The change to the new format was made in two stages: the first one ended in 2017 and consisted of replacing the current client accounts with IBAN codes; the second focused on the changes that the financial institutions had to make internally.
So starting August 1, you will no longer have a separate internal account number with your bank and a SINPE “Cuenta Cliente” for SINPE transactions — all will replaced with an IBAN. Note that any favorite accounts you might have set in your online banking will be automatically updated for you.